Monday, 30 October 2017 10:17

Biofuel 'could heat rural homes'

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Biofuel 'could heat rural homes'

Many rural homes could be heated by vegetable oil within the next five years, claims an industry report.

Rural homes currently heated by oil could switch to a renewable alternative, such as a vegetable oil blend, by as early as 2022, it says.

The report is by OFTEC, the trade association for the oil heating industry.

It says biofuels could play an important role in reducing carbon emissions from rural homes and provide a long term, sustainable solution for rural heating.

Malcolm Farrow from OFTEC, said: "Oil heating is incredibly popular due to its low price and flexibility.

"But we are all being encouraged to take steps to reduce our carbon emissions and, although it may sound strange, vegetable oil could be the key."

Switching oil using homes to a biofuel represented the best of both worlds, claimed Mr Farrow.

"Households could continue to enjoy the benefits of a liquid fuel, such as topping up when they want and shopping around for the best price, whilst also drastically cutting their carbon emissions.

"For households, adopting this biofuel would be relatively simple as the fuel can be stored in existing oil tanks."

Mr Farrow said this meant only a minor boiler adjustment would be required, which could be completed during an annual standard service.

Other renewable heating technologies that are currently available for rural homes include as air source heat pumps and solar thermal.

But they have seen limited take up due to high upfront installation costs.

Mr Farrow said the price of a biofuel could become very competitive following a mass roll out.

"We are going through a period of significant change in the way we consume energy, from the move towards electric cars for transport to renewable sources of heating."

He added: "Biofuels could represent a realistic and viable option to help rural homes reduce their carbon emissions.

"We have presented our detailed proposals to local MPs and government and will shortly begin real-world testing."

People in this conversation

  • Guest (Ian Smith)

    Report

    Biofuels sourced from vegetable oils, whether waste or grown from carbohydrate crops for this purpose, are not a sustainable alternative to traditional heating oil because of indirect land use change (ILUC). Waste oils are now traded and are not available in sufficient quantities to meet demand (some of which is driven by EU directives for biofuel content at pumps) so any increase in demand is met from new crops. This additional demand will largely be met from additional deforestation.

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